by Al Myers
This lift probably has been in the USAWA Grip Championships more than any other and each time it’s in the meet I’m asked by lifter’s — WHY? Well, maybe because I just love to watch the pain in your face as you are pulling with all your might using only your middle fingers! And because the USAWA Grip Champs HAS to have at least one painful lift in it.
The rules for the Middle Fingers Deadlift is as follows:
B7. Deadlift – Fingers, Middle
The rules of the Deadlift apply except only the middle fingers of both hands may be used. The middle fingers of both hands may grip the bar in an alternate manner. The thumb must not be in contact with the lifting fingers.
I have written blogs in the past about the Middle Fingers Deadlift and the famous old time German Strongman Hermann Goerner. I want to share again part of a story I’ve written before.
David Willoughby in his book The Super Athletes listed Goerner as having done a MF deadlift of 140 kilograms (308.5 pounds) around 1925. I have always considered this the mark to beat to be outstanding in the middle fingers deadlift. Now, compared to what Hermann has reported in his other finger lifts, this lift of his seems to be a sub-maximal effort. None the less, it is a very good lift (and is actually believable compared to some of his other claims). However, this 308.5# middle finger deadlift is not listed in Hermann’s autobiography by Edgar Mueller’s Goerner the Mighty. I have read this book several times, and I don’t ever remember seeing this lift listed. Mueller does talk in one chapter about the wide deviations of grips that Hermann uses for his deadlifts, and mentions a middle finger overhand grip deadlift (of which he lists Goerner as having worked up to 220 pounds), but nothing about using an alternate grip as we allow in the USAWA for the Finger Deadlifts.
I’ve always considered Goerner’s Middle Finger Deadlift of 308.5 pounds as the mark to be considered outstanding at this lift. Only a handful of USAWA lifter’s have achieved it in USAWA competition and are part of the USAWA “Goerner’s Club”. This is the short list:
1. Kevin Fulton 400 pounds – 1999 SuperGrip Challenge
2. Ben Edwards 310 pounds – 2011 USAWA Grip Championships
3. Bill DiCiccio 309 pounds – 1994 IAWA Gold Cup
I’m hoping someone else will join this list at the 2016 USAWA Grip Championships!